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February 7, 2017

Might marijuana legalization "be inducing a crime drop" in US states?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this notable new empirical article on SSRN titled "Crime and the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana" and authored by quartet of economists from the University of Bologna.  Here is the abstract:

We provide first-pass evidence that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states may be inducing a crime drop.  Exploiting the recent staggered legalization enacted by the adjacent states of Washington (end of 2012) and Oregon (end of 2014) we find, combining county-level difference-in-differences and spatial regression discontinuity designs, that the legalization of recreational marijuana caused a significant reduction of rapes and thefts on the Washington side of the border in 2013-2014 relative to the Oregon side and relative to the pre-legalization years 2010-2012.  We also find evidence that the legalization increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol.

Regular readers will not be surprised that I view the posting of this article as an excuse to provide a round-up of recent posts from my other blog, Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform:

February 7, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink


Marijuana has a direct calming effect. It has a collateral effect of reducing alcohol intake, the most crimogenic substance on earth. The harms of marijuana are from its excessive intake, similar to the death caused by the excessive intake of water, in water intoxication. Doctors who oppose its legalization have been taught about the dose-response curve in Pharmacology I, first year of medical school. They are being dishonest by not specifying the doses of the marijuana use to which they object.

I do not understand the continuing controversy. Perhaps, it is explained by entrenched economic interest in its prohibition.

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 7, 2017 7:23:34 PM


I suspect a log of it comes down to the fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Feb 8, 2017 3:10:54 AM

SH. Not sure. No doubt a lot of DEA agents are dopers, themselves. It is all around them, sitting in front of them, with no one else around.

What do you think? Would it be easy or hard to end the $500 million a year War on Drugs? Do you think ending it would cause some lawyer unemployment, on top of the current lawyer unemployment rate? Do you think that could be done easily, because it is useful and a benefit to the rest of the nation?

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 8, 2017 7:45:36 AM

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